The Atlantic reports:
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Queens, New York, received a text Wednesday evening that they long feared might come: “We’re writing to let you know that a positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found at our facility today.”
This is the realization of a major threat to Amazon’s operations. Millions of people across the nation are cloistered inside their homes, many of them relying on the company to provide basic goods.
Amazon is already struggling to meet demand, and some employees feel they’re being unfairly endangered by working in warehouses filled with other workers. It’s unclear how deliveries could continue if the workers who sort, pack, and ship Americans’ goods start getting sick in droves.
Amazon on Thursday said it was closing a small New York warehouse temporarily after one of its associates tested positive for the coronavirus, a move that highlights the operational risk it faces as the disease spreads.
The company said it has sent associates home from the delivery station with full pay as it sanitizes the facility, its first in the United States known to have a case of the virus.
“We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine,” Amazon said in a statement. “We continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings.”